One of the curious things the Fringe seems to throw up on a regular basis is celebrities from other walks of life trying their hand at stand-up.
One such example is breakfast radio DJ, Christian O’Connell: This Is 13 (Underbelly Bristo Square, 8.40pm, until August 20, HHH). With his 40th birthday looming, O’Connell rediscovered a note he’d written aged 13, listing everything he wanted to achieve before turning 40. This show charts his efforts to tick them off, from fighting Darth Vader to playing Subbuteo with a former England captain.
If it sounds like something Dave Gorman or Danny Wallace would do, it is, with many of the laughs drawn from the juxtaposition of teenage fantasy and 30-something reality, and his subsequent attempts to address this.
While some of the things on the list make for rather convenient comedy – we never actually see the original - it’s an enjoyable, easy-going romp and, as you’d expect given his day job, he’s a confident performer, adept at keeping the audience on-side.
No-one expects the Vine inquisition
One man who’s no stranger to stand-up is Tim Vine (Pleasance Courtyard, 3.50pm & 5.10pm, until August 26, HHH). An hour with Vine is like being machine-gunned with punchlines, peppered with a slew of one-liners, cheesy puns and god-help-us gags. Some hit the target, some go wide of the mark, but almost everyone ends up a comedy casualty, their faces sore from grinning. The only issue is the chat show format - most of his guests, more-than-willing audience volunteers, think they’re comedians themselves, which can lead to some fairly excruciatingly painful moments, and as a vehicle for him to demonstrate his prowess, it’s probably reached the end of its natural shelf-life.
Mariachi and Acaster - it can’t get any better
Falling somewhere between newbie and veteran is James Acaster (Pleasance Courtyard, 7pm, until August 25, HHHH H). He’s been performing at Edinburgh since 2009, developing his style and reputation and picking up a Foster’s Comedy Award nomination last year. 2013’s show invokes ice-cream vans, mariachi music snobbery and the vagaries of sky-writing in order to demonstrate that Yoko Ono wasn’t responsible for the break-up of the Beatles. It’s a brilliantly devised piece of comic complexity, constantly re-referencing itself and turning each idea full circle, and one that deserves attention.